16 January 2016

And Police Wonder Why Some People Call Them "Pigs"

The sense of self-entitled hostility directed toward the public for whom they nominally work is clear when they pull this sort of sh%$:
In April 2015, the New York City television station NY1 filed a open-records request for “unedited video files from the NYPD’s body camera program” captured during five specific weeks in 2014 and 2015. Four months later, the New York City Police Department agreed to review and release the footage—but only after NY1 paid a $36,000 “copying fee.” NY1 appealed the N.Y.P.D.’s decision and, in a letter dated September 16 of last year, was once again denied by the N.Y.P.D.’s deputy commissioner of legal matters.

As the New York Post reported yesterday, the details of the N.Y.P.D.’s response, including the exorbitant fee (charged by a public agency with a budget of $4.8 billion*), were revealed in a lawsuit NY1 filed against the N.Y.P.D. in the Supreme Court of New York County on Wednesday. In it, the channel accuses the department of violating New York State’s Freedom of Information Law by inflating the cost of producing the requested body camera footage—a process that, according to the N.Y.P.D., involves copying video segments that could be withheld under certain privacy and security exemptions.

The fee does indeed come from a curious calculation of labor costs. In a letter to NY1 explaining the administrative denial of the channel’s appeal, a police official explained:
The [record access officer]’s estimate of the cost of processing a copy of the [body camera footage] was reasonable based on an estimate that the total time of footage recorded during the five weeks specified in the FOIL request was approximately 190 hours, and that in addition to the 190 hours required to view the recordings in real time, an additional 60% (or 114 hours) will be required to copy the footage in a manner that will redact the exempt portions of the [body camera footage], for a total of approximately 304 hours. The lowest paid NYPD employee with the skills required to prepare a redacted copy of the recordings is in the rank of police officer, and the cost of compensating a police officer is $120.00 per hour. Multiplying $120.00 by 304 hours equals $36,480, which closely approximates the amount estimated by the [records access officer].
It’s unclear where exactly these figures came from. A police officer is the third-lowest rank within the N.Y.P.D.’s rank structure; individuals holding that title make nowhere near $120 per hour, which is the equivalent of $249,600 per year (assuming a 40-hour workweek).
This is, of course, complete bullsh%$.

A sledge hammer needs to be taken wall that the police place between themselves and the general public.

It breeds contempt, and corruption, and abuse.


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